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Bad Boy Brawly Brown: An Easy Rawlins Mysteryby Walter Mosley
"[A]n excellent book, perhaps the best in the series....[A]lthough Easy's search for a young man who has run away to join the militant Urban Revolutionary Party may keep us turning pages, more momentous is what Easy's investigation reveals about the black community's struggle for autonomy and dignity — a struggle mirrored in the detective's life as well....For Mosley...the highly stylized nature of the [crime] genre's conventions is less important than their ability to open a window on an elaborately imagined world. This is the intention of all literature, regardless of format, and with the Easy Rawlins novels Mosley has found a framework to make lasting points about the things that affect us most — the dynamics of character and interaction, and the difficulty of making one's way in the world." David L. Ulin, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic review)
Synopses & Reviews
For the first time in six years, Easy Rawlins is back working a case on the streets of Los Angeles, looking for justice and sometimes managing to create his own.
Easy Rawlins's old friend John shows up at his door one morning, looking for the kind of help only Easy can provide. John's stepson, Brawly Brown, has left home and John has reason to think this well-meaning boy is caught up in a situation that's more dangerous than he knows. It doesn't take Easy long to find Brawly and to learn that John is right — but getting Brawly to see things that way is another matter.
Brawly has joined a political group that he believes is out to make things better for the residents of Compton. With years of seeing how things really work, Easy recognizes that young Brawly is just a pawn in a battle between forces as old and hard as the city's streets.
Through it all, Easy's old friend Mouse is there to help him — even though the last time Easy saw Mouse he was lying still and cold, and Easy is certain he's dead. Still, the memory and reputation of Mouse accompany Easy everywhere, earning him second looks from beautiful women and respect from hardened men. And in a world where logic is only a small element in life-or-death calculations, it is something Mouse once said to him that could help Easy save Brawly's life — without costing him his own.
The worldliness, relentlessness, and passion of Easy Rawlins have been sorely missed from the world of fiction. This thriller is proof that Walter Mosley is one of the masters of crime fiction, and as original a voice as any writing in America today.
"[Easy Rawlins] returns from his six-year sabbatical more complex and compelling than ever before: a hero for his time and ours." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"This episode replays the themes and recaptures the mood of the previous installment more than we've come to expect from the constantly evolving Rawlins series, but it nevertheless stands on its own as a powerful human drama and a vividly re-created historical moment." Bill Ott, Booklist
"The author continues to probe the African American experience, and while a crime is at the heart of this book, its soul lies in deeper issues. Nonetheless, Mosley is always a good read." Library Journal
"Mosley...is still brutally honest, depressingly realistic and, as usual, right on the mark. His writing is fresh and poignant, even for those who think they know Rawlins well." Carol Memmott, USA Today
"This sixth novel about sometimes-sleuth [Easy Rawlins] is a fusion of the best elements of private-eye fiction....Bad Boy Brawly Brown...gives the reader new insight into Easy Rawlins....Where he goes next should be well worth watching." Anthony Rainone, January Magazine
"[D]oes all the best things that a piece of noir can do, and does more of it better than most....Mosley's work not only represents some of the best, most artful modern work in the Dashiell Hammett/Raymond Chandler detective tradition, but a body of American literature that's in some ways more realistic and authentic than the masters'....It's language that makes these books sing. It's also the reason people like me read them." Jesse Sublett, The Austin Chronicle
"This is standard PI stuff, but much of the richness of Bad Boy Brawly Brown derives from Mosley's skill at connecting the dots between the genre conventions and the particular texture of a life....[W]hile most mystery writers churn out series, Mosley's issuing a serialized epic, crafting what promises to be a shelf-length work nimbly clueing through unexplored shadows of American noir. (Grade: B)" Troy Patterson, Entertainment Weekly
"[A] great yarn, crackling with righteous anger and ethical ambiguity....But Mosley's heavy-handed, Hemingwayesque prose weighs everything down like a snitch in a pair of cement shoes. Mosley should lay off the literary airs and stick to action: like his hero, he's at his best when he's slumming it." Lev Grossman, Time.com
"A most welcome return and also a compelling mystery on many levels that weaves through the undergrowth of American history and morality and tackles serious themes with an assured dexterity." Maxim Jakubowski, The Guardian (UK)
"The writing is superb, the characters believably flawed and battle-scarred. So this month's award for best mystery goes to Walter Mosley, with the sincere hope that we don't have to wait another seven years for the next Rawlins installment." Bruce Tierney, BookPage
Easy Rawlins is out of the investigation business and as far away from crime as a black man can be in 1960s Los Angeles. But living around desperate men means life gets complicated sometimes. When an old friend gets in enough trouble to ask for Easy's help, he finds he can't refuse.
Young Brawly Brown has traded in his family for The Clan of the First Men, a group rejecting white leadership, history, and laws--and they're dangerous. Brown's mom, Alva, needs to know her baby's okay, and Easy promises to find him. His first day on the case Easy gets harassed by the cops and comes face to face with a corpse. Before he knows it he is on a short list of murder suspects and in the middle of a frenzied police raid on a Clan of the First Men rally. The only thing he discovers about Brawly Brown is that he's the kind of trouble most folks try to avoid. It takes everything Easy has just to stay alive as he explores a world filled with promises, betrayals, and predators like he never imagined.
BAD BOY BRAWLY BROWN is the masterful crime novel that Walter Mosley's legions of fans have been waiting for. Written with the voice and vision that have made Walter Mosley one of the most important writers in America, this book marks the return of a master at the top of his form.
About the Author
Walter Mosley is the author of the bestselling Easy Rawlins series of mysteries, the novel R.L.'s Dream, and the story collection Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, for which he received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. He was born in Los Angeles and has been at various times in his life a potter, a computer programmer, and a poet. His books have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in New York.
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